Don’t cry for me Argentina I'll cry for you

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Cabur

Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, December 12, 2010

We woke up at about 5:30am, booked a hostel for this evening, and left the hostel to try and flag down a cab at 6am to the bus station. The nights' festivities were still well underway with jeeps full of young guys and girls shouting and singing on their way home. We eventually managed to get a cab and arrived at the bus station to find yet more people on their way back home. The bus arrived at about 6:45am and it left Salta at about 7am we met Will and Jo there to who regaled us with hilarious tales of their last few days in Salta. The bus journey was absolutely stunning and initially followed the Humahuacha road from yesterday before turning off and heading towards Chile and San Pedro de Atacama. The landscape was simply amazing and a little bit other worldly, for the Salt Plains above Salta to arriving in the driest place on earth (apparently it has never rained here and life simply does not exist in such a place). We always thought we would see 'biggest’, ‘tallest’, ‘deepest’, ‘smallest’ etc, but driest I don’t think we ever thought we would be involved with. We passed through Argentine customs and border patrol without much trouble but seemed to drive for about another 2 hours or so before we reached the Chilean border, I’m not sure if this is no man’s land but it was very, very baron.

We arrived in San Pedro de Atacama at about 6pm and were met by our hostel pick up, on a mountain bike. Wow San Pedro de Atacama it doesn’t make the best first impression I’ll give it that much. We got dropped off in a dusty square then followed our pick up on foot down dusty streets to find an old dusty building with a straw roof. First impressions of the hostel weren’t great to be fair but it did really grow on us in the end, it was very rustic to say the least. We had booked a different hostel to Will and Jo so wandered into town to meet up with them. The town when you get into it and over the dust is actually quite nice but it is very small and Erica decided we should try and get a trip tomorrow to Bolivia, what with the Christmas rush to Cusco and all. Will and Joanna were also leaving tomorrow so we got stuck into their operator, Rocco, and soon drove down the price by quite a bit in the end we paid 55,000 Chilean Peso for a 3 day trip including all food etc. About 70 each I think.

The guy selling us the trip called Rocco, was to say the least a character, we had been in prison, had a few prison tattoos, a couple of gunshot wounds, an eye for the ladies and a mouth that could... well let’s say be fairly offensive, we were somewhat taken aback by "England used to be a great country......" the rest was vividly offensive racism. He also promised double rooms, English speaking guides, a car less than two years old, whatever you wanted to eat you just had to ask, amazing accommodation as well as a whole host of other things.

We paid up thinking this would be the trip of a lifetime then settled down with Will and Joanna for a few Pisco Sours. We knew we had made the right decision leaving as our hostel cost almost 30 for really rustic, a Pisco sour was about 5 but we had 2,4,1 on happy hour. We had missed out on two things we had really been looking forward to the Valley of the Moon and some sand boarding for me but we were assured by Rocco we would see all these things on the trip and he didn’t want to take more money off us (what a saint). We ended up sat next to an open fire until about 10pm and we headed back out of town in the pitch black down alleyways while they walked two streets down the main road. We did however come across a toy shop on the way back still open so we got some props for our trip. You will have to see what that is all about in due course. There was a bit of a party back at the hostel but I’m still so exhausted I managed to get to sleep despite the noise going on outside the door.
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